3146A HH Dow2300 Hayward St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2136
University of Michigan
PhD CHE ’63
MS CHE ’56
BS CHE ’54
Numerical methods and their solution of engineering problems, with applications such as the underground storage of natural gas, injection molding of fiber-reinforced polymers, and leveling of paint films. Solution of partial differential equations by finite-element and finite-difference methods.
Professor Wilkes’ hobbies include reading, gardening, cycling, organ-playing, and hiking in North Wales and the American West. In 2015, he completed the editing of his grandfather’s manuscript, Place-Names of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and published it as a 624-page hardcover book, including 200 illustrations, many in colour.
Professor Wilkes (Jim) received his bachelor’s degree from Cambridge in 1954 and his master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1956 and 1963, respectively. All degrees were in chemical engineering. He was a faculty member at Cambridge for four years before coming permanently to the University of Michigan in 1960. He was an Arthur F. Thurnau Professor from 1989-1992, and Assistant Dean for Admissions in the College of Engineering from 1990-1994. He retired from the University of Michigan in 2000 and a significant undergraduate scholarship fund has been established in his honor. In 2007, he was elected a fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Jim is a life member of the English Place-Name Society and a Patron of the New Victoria County History of Hampshire project.
Jim, former chairman of the department, has interests in digital computing, numerical methods, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer. He is coauthor of two books published by John Wiley & Sons: Applied Numerical Methods (1969), and Digital Computing and Numerical Methods (1973). More recently, Prentice Hall has published his text, Fluid Mechanics for Chemical Engineers, Third Edition, with Microfluidics, CFD and COMSOL Microphysics 5 (2017).
As a student, Jim took the first-ever digital-computing course at Michigan, in Fall 1955. From 1960-2000, he enjoyed a close friendship and a remarkable period of collaboration with his fellow faculty member, Brice Carnahan. Jim and Brice worked together in writing textbooks and teaching courses on numerical methods. For more than 25 years, they also supervised the instruction of digital computing to the freshmen in the College of Engineering, coauthoring countless manuals on many aspects of that subject.